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Kathryn Barush, D.Phil.

Associate Professor of Art History and Religion

D. Phil., University of Oxford, 2012
M.St./M.A., University of Oxford, 2007
B.A., Sarah Lawrence College, 2003

Phone: (510) 549-5010
Office Hours: Please email for an appointment

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About the Professor

Kathryn Barush is Associate Professor of Art History and Religion at the Graduate
Theological Union with a courtesy appointment to the Jesuit School of Theology. She received a D.Phil. and M.St. in the History of Art and Visual Culture from the University of Oxford in 2012, which was followed by a 3-year position as Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Previously, she worked as a curatorial assistant at the Yale University Center for British Art.

Prior to commencing graduate work, Dr. Barush had the opportunity to pursue a comparative study of painting and pilgrimage in the Buddhist and Christian traditions with the generous support of a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship. She conducted field research over the course of a year in working scriptoria and archives in the U.K., Tibet, India, and Greece.

Dr. Barush's first book (Art and the Sacred Journey in Britain, 1790-1850, London: Routledge) was an honorable mention for the 2018 Borsch-Rast Prize, one of Dame Marina Warner's selections for Book of the Year (TLS, 2017), and a finalist for AAR Best First Book in the History of Religions.

Shifting the focus to the present day, Dr. Barush's current book project continues to explore the transfer of 'spirit' from sites to representations through a critical examination of contemporary art (including assemblages of souvenirs, built environments, and reconstructions of sacred sites) created after or during pilgrimages with the intent to engender the experience for others.

Dr. Barush is currently on the advisory network for the Yale University Center for the Study of Material & Visual Cultures of Religion, an academic advisor for the British Pilgrimage Trust, a member of the Centre for Pilgrimage Studies, University of York, UK, and a coordinator for the Living Stones project, Sapienza, University of Rome.

In addition to research on pilgrimage and visual culture, Dr. Barush has collaborated on several major digital preservation, research, and archiving initiatives at CASVA and the University of Oxford.


Courses Recently Offered



  • Imaging Pilgrimage: Art as Embodied Experience (under contract with Bloomsbury Academic, forthcoming 2020)
  • Art and the Sacred Journey in Britain, 1790- 1850 (London: Routledge; Studies in Pilgrimage, Religious Travel, and Tourism, 2016)
  • ‘The Root of the Route: Phil’s Camino Project and the Catholic Tradition of Surrogate Pilgrimage’, Practical Matters Journal (June, 2016):
  • ‘Swords to Shoes: Pedagogy and Pilgrimage Along the Camino Ignaciano’ (with Hung Pham, SJ), Practical Matters Journal (July 2016).
  • ‘Pilgrimage and Image at Lincoln Cathedral’, Transpositions, Institute for Theology, Imagination, and the Arts at the University of St Andrews (October, 2013).
  • ‘Visions of Mortality’, Apollo: The International Art Magazine (January, 2013).
  • ‘Painting the Scene’ in The Oxford Handbook of the Georgian Theatre 1737-1832 (Julia Swindells and David Taylor [eds.], Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014).
  • ‘The Art and Material Cultures of Pilgrimage’, Center 33, National Gallery of Art (2013) and ‘The Visual and Material Cultures of Religious Pilgrimage in Nineteenth-Century Britain’, Center 32, National Gallery of Art (2012).
  • ‘James Barry, William Godwin, and “the Language of Forms”’, The Bodleian Library Record, Vol. 24 No. 1 (April, 2011).
Digital Humanities Projects

‘A Pilgrim in the Park: Sacred Space in Lewis Miller’s “Guide to Central Park”’, Nineteenth-Century Art Worldwide, Vol. 12, No. 1 (Spring, 2013). 


William Godwin’s Diary:  Reconstructing a Social and Political Culture 1788-1836  (Oxford: Oxford Digital Library, Victoria Myers, David O’Shaughnessy, and Mark Philp [eds.], November, 2010); as a research assistant for the project, Dr. Barush was responsible for various entries as well as editing & coding the resource: